“Our Father who art in heaven” (Matt. 6:9).
Prayer begins with the recognition that God is your Father and has the resources to meet your needs.
The term Father is one of the most commonly used terms in our prayers, and rightly so because that’s how Jesus taught us to pray. But as common as that term is to us, it was very uncommon to the people of Christ’s day.
Then, most of the people who worshiped false gods thought of them as distant, capricious, and immoral beings that were to be feared. Even the Jewish people, who should have understood the fatherhood of God, had removed themselves from His Fatherly care through their sin and apostasy. Consequently He seemed remote to them. Even some who did claim God as their Father were rebuked by Christ, who called them children of the devil because they rejected the Son (John 8:44).
Against that backdrop, Christ’s teaching was revolutionary. He proclaimed God as a caring and gracious Father who desires intimate fellowship with His children. That fellowship can come only through faith in the Son.
Beyond that, Jesus revealed the Father’s character in everything He said and did. When Philip asked Jesus to show him the Father, Jesus replied, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).
Jesus also proclaimed God as a Father who has all the treasures of heaven at His disposal and who makes them available to His children so they might glorify Him: “Your Father knows what you need, before you ask Him. . . . Do not be anxious then . . . but seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all [you need] will be added to you” (Matt. 6:8, 31, 33).
Your faith in Christ is what makes God your Heavenly Father. He loves you, listens to your prayers, and supplies your needs according to His abundant resources. Look to Him today and live as a thankful, obedient child.
Suggestions for Prayer
- Thank God that He is your gracious and loving Father.
- Praise Him for the abundant blessings He gives to you.
For Further Study
- Read Proverbs 3:5-6 and Matthew 7:7-11.
- What are you exhorted to do?
- What specifically will God do for you?
- How should those passages affect your relationship with God?
From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, http://www.crossway.com.